Mackey Celebrates 20 Years; Bolsters Third Graders at St. John’s

by Kelly Phelan Powell

In her 20 years as a teacher at St. John Berchmans Catholic School in Shreveport, Catherine Mackey has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of students. Though she was new to Catholic education when she began at SJB, the transition was a natural one for her – in her previous position at CHRISTUS Schumpert’s Child Development Center, she had worked with children for 18 years. When Schumpert merged with Highland Child Development Center, Marie Rinaudo approached her with an offer to begin the K-3 program at SJB.

“The major thing, in my opinion, that sets Catholic schools apart is the opportunity to build a closer relationship with God and attend weekly church services. SJB stands worlds apart because we are a safe haven that fosters the belief of a total commitment to developing a well-rounded individual,” she said.

Third grade is an exciting year for students at SJB. Mackey said third graders are able to participate in many different extracurricular activities like soccer, basketball, football, cheerleading, music and drama. They also participate in ArtBreak, the largest student arts festival in the South. SJB practices STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and mathematics) daily, and as part of that curriculum, third grade students have the opportunity to participate in an Elementary Science Olympiad competition.

“We have also partnered with fourth and fifth graders in a coding class, and we work with BoBots,” she said. This experience prepares and primes them for becoming members of the SJB Robotics Team.

“Through our Science class we are afforded the opportunity to do many STEM projects,” she said. “We are currently working on making ‘balloon cars’. Our third graders also work on PRODIGY, which is a program to enhance and better their math skills.”

Though she started at SJB working with three-year-olds, Mackey says third grade holds a special place in her heart. “I enjoy being with third graders because you can see and experience a part of their educational growth that will carry them to the stars and beyond,” she said. “They are willing and ready to learn in an environment that affords them a safe learning space. Students grow from learning the basic foundation of elements needed to become discoverers. Third grade is a year for taking a firm hold and becoming more accountable for their own education. I become a ‘mom teacher’ who helps them venture out to do their own thing, but is always available when needed.”

Mackey pointed out that the administration, faculty and staff are what make SJB a great place to be an educator. “The most satisfying thing about working at SJB aside from the children is the staff and faculty who work here. We are a close family of educators who aid and rely on each other. I am blessed to work with these individuals on a daily basis. I am honored,” she said.

Mackey attended Southern University in Shreveport and graduated from Southern University in Baton Rouge with a B.S. degree in Secondary Education with a major in Social Studies and a minor in English. She attended LSUS to complete Alternate Certification in Elementary Education. She and Michael Mackey, Sr. have been married for 34 years and have one son, Michael Mackey, Jr. “God is good,” she said.

One Response to Mackey Celebrates 20 Years; Bolsters Third Graders at St. John’s

  1. Valerie Strickland, madelyn's grandmother says:

    Great article Mrs. Mackey! Glad you are on board at SJB. See you next January, 2018

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